Monday, July 22, 2019

It's My 10 Year Smoke-free Anniversary and I'm Terrified

First, I want to say that TODAY IS MY TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF QUITTING SMOKING. I can say with 100% certainty that, without vapor products, I'd still be smoking today. And I'm horrified and terrified that these low risk products may soon not be available for people who vape or still smoke, while cigarettes remain freely sold!

This article, "Anti-Vaping Researchers Claim E-Cigarettes Cause Heart Attacks Before Smokers Try Them," exposes the kind of junk science that risk reduction advocates are constantly dealing with. Twisted and outright unethical research that causes people who smoke to avoid or give up products that are actually 99% safer, because they believe the "trusted" anti-tobacco groups that lie, telling them that vaping is as bad as or worse than smoking!

Stanton Glantz has been a leader in the propaganda against vaping, and because of his history fighting the tobacco industry, people believe his lies. But this shows that he willfully and purposefully misrepresents the data to further his prohibitionist agenda.

FACT: Vaping REDUCES the exposures of toxins linked to smoking-related diseases (cancer, heart disease, stroke, COPD) to nearly that of non-smokers.

FACT: The Royal College of Physicians (UK) has determined that vaping is AT LEAST 95% safer than smoking (probably more like 99%) and recommends that people who smoke switch to vaping if they cannot or will not quit smoking.

FACT: The same data that Glantz used to determine vaping caused heart attacks actually shows that vapers were SIGNIFICANTLY LESS LIKELY TO HAVE A HEART ATTACK.

FACT: There HAS NOT BEEN ONE CASE of "popcorn lung" diagnosed in someone who vapes. In fact, the suspected chemical in popcorn lung, diacetyl, is found at much higher levels in cigarettes and popcorn lung has never been linked to smoking. So, it makes no sense that vaping would carry a risk of popcorn lung when smoking doesn't.

FACT: The "teen vaping epidemic" has been purposefully misrepresented. After JUUL hit the market in 2015, teen vaping DECREASED from 16% in 2015 to 11.3% in 2016 (according to CDC data.) In 2016 & 2017, the US Surgeon General, FDA, CDC, Truth Initiative, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the media began issuing statements and articles about teen vaping, informing teens (who otherwise saw vaping as "lame smoking cessation for old people") that vaping was a teen trend, that the devices were easily hidden from parents and teachers, and that they came in "kid-friendly" flavors. Suddenly, teen vaping (or at least, teens giving vaping a try at least 1 time in the past 30 days) skyrocketed. But, looking at the actual numbers, just 5.8% of high school students were vaping daily, and they were already smoking before vaping (or may have been smoking if vaping wasn't an option.)

FACT: There is ZERO evidence that vaping leads to teen smoking. The anti-vaping people use the same kind of science as was used in this heart attack study to "prove" a gateway. They look at surveys and see how many teens who smoke also used vapor products at any time in their life. They found that more teens who smoke had used or currently used vapor products, so decided that meant vaping leads to smoking. But they admit in the fine print that they cannot really determine if the vaping CAUSED the smoking or if it was just that kids who are more likely to smoke were trying vaping first.

FACT: With this "teen vaping epidemic" raising fears of a "gateway" to increased youth smoking, high school smoking rates have actually DECLINED from 15.8% in 2011 (when they first started tracking vaping rates) to 8.1% in 2018. Middle school smoking went from 4.3% to 1.8%. Smoking for 18-24 years old (those who would have been teen vapers that became smokers as adults) went from 15.5% in 2014 to 8.1% in 2018. YOUTH VAPING IS CLEARLY NOT LEADING TO TEEN OR YOUNG ADULTS SMOKING.

FACT: Nicotine is NOT A CARCINOGEN nor is it considered the cause of other diseases related to smoking, such as heart disease, COPD or stroke. "Addiction" isn't what causes those diseases, either. SMOKE INHALATION is what is linked to those diseases. Nicotine gums, lozenges and patches were approved by the FDA because they were safer than smoking and had low probability of addiction without the smoke. Vapor products use the EXACT SAME nicotine as pharmaceutical nicotine products. Studies using 4 mg nicotine patches as treatments for Parkinson's and ulcerative coalitis found that, after 6 months of nicotine treatment, patients were NOT addicted to nicotine. Away from smoking, it appears nicotine is no more dangerous or addictive than caffeine.

FACT: Most of the stories about "vape pens exploding" are actually BATTERIES NOT IN DEVICES that are in pockets or purses with other metal objects that caused the batteries to overheat. They weren't even in the device, in spite of the alarming headlines. Other cases are caused by the consumer "modifying" their device in ways not intended by the manufacturer, using old, damaged batteries or using improper charging equipment.

FACT: There is no proven risk of seizures because of vaping. Just as with the heart attacks, information was withheld, such as the fact that many of the cases were patients with previous history of seizures, the seizures didn't even happen close to the time the patient vaped or the patient was also using drugs. Additionally, there were only 35 self-reported cases (ie. unverified and not reported by scientists or doctors) over nearly a DECADE. With millions of people vaping in that decade, an average of 3.9 seizures per year is actually lower than the average number of seizures reported by people who weren't even vaping!

FACT: The majority of ex-smoking, adult vapers use non-tobacco flavors. They report that sweet flavors make real cigarettes taste horrible and that keeps them from relapsing. Also, for many, the "tobacco" flavored vapor products just makes them crave the real thing. Claims that "adults trying to quit smoking don't want fruit and candy flavors, so vape companies must be targeting teens" are hypocritical by completely ignoring the fact that the FDA-approved Nicorette gums and lozenges they promote come in cinnamon, Fruit Chill, orange, cherry and mint - but DON'T come in "tobacco" or "menthol" flavors. Is Nicorette "targeting youth," too?

I started vaping back in 2009 and was active on a vaping discussion forum. Minors weren't even aware of vaping back then or thought it was "for douches" and weren't even allowed in the forum. I joined the forum because I had just purchased my first vapor product and it was tobacco flavored. It was gross and tasted nothing like smoking, so I was trying to find out if there were other flavors. At the time, most companies only sold tobacco or menthol flavors. There were hundreds of threads on that forum of people trying to find or make all kinds of flavors. Thousands of requests for candy, fruit, beverage, cereal and dessert flavors by adult vapers of an average age of mid-thirties. I am a first-hand witness to the fact that the vaping industry didn't come up with flavors "to entice and hook kids." They came up with them because adult vapers WANTED those flavors! I'm a 51 year old ex-smoker, who smoked non-menthol cigarettes for 20 years, and I use a flavor that's a blend of blueberry, raspberry and dragon fruit! My 71 year old aunt, who smoked for 50 years, uses the same flavor.

These are the FACTS about the so-called "science" that's being used in the US to scare people who smoke away from switching to vaping - and scare people who don't smoke or vape into supporting the horrible laws being passed against vaping, like use bans, flavor bans, high taxes and even outright banning the sale in stores and online, while leaving cigarettes to still be sold in just about every corner gas station, convenience store, big box store and grocery store.

Please don't believe the lies. Millions of lives depend on it - both now and in the future.

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